An Engineer by profession Rishi Singhal worked with Wells FarGo which is the world’s biggest mortgage bank for 2 years. While he was working there, his father told him that sooner or later he has to come back to Kolkata and work for himself. So he left his job and shifted to Kolkata. Having the aspiration of opening something unique, led to the birth of Fly Kouzina. Excerpts from the interview:
When did you feel that it was the right time for you to enter into the restaurant business? Tell us about your journey.
My primary education was done in Ranchi, Jharkhand before moving to Manipal for pursuing engineering. Later, I was working for a bank Wells FarGo for two years. But my father always wanted me to work for myself. So I left the job and came back to Kolkata.Me and My brother, Mohit Harlalka who’s also an engineer co-founded Fly Kouzina with an idea of serving something different.
Why a theme based restaurant?
Theme attracts people. I believe that to run a restaurant you need two things keeping the customers in mind. ‘Customer Attainment and Customer Sustainment’. In order to attract our customer, we knew that we have to create something very different. Having a quirky and different theme made people travel for 10-15 kms to try the food and ambience at least once. When we opened Fly Kouzina three years back our restaurant had the only aircraft theme in India.
How is Fly Kouzina different from other restaurants?
In India there was not a single restaurant which was based on aircraft. So we came up with an idea of opening a restaurant having an interior of an aircraft. We have basically two sections including a lounge and an aircraft section. In the lounge section all the tables can be moved so we can have big parties over there. And in the aircraft section the tables can’t move and can accommodate a maximum of six people. As you come inside the restaurant, you will be given a boarding pass which will be having your seat number on it. We are actually selling an experience. We also have air hostesses who try to give the feel of aircraft on ground.
How did the funding happen?
My brother and I have together invested in the company. We also took some loans from our father.
What is your strategy to overcome the competition in the market?
Our strategy is very simple. We believe in creating something different which we already did and is there in the market. And the food is the soul. We keep on changing our menus. It’s been three years and we have changed our menus 3-4 times already. We make sure that the quality is focused. 90% of the team have been with us since past three years. So, we try to retain them maintaining the food quality as well. I believe that if you are doing your homework properly then people will definitely come back to you. We are very clear that none of the feedbacks should be less than excellent from our customers.
Tell us something about the menu that you are offering? How is the pricing done?
We charge Rs 500-550 per head We make sure that our food satisfies the customer’s belly as well as pocket.
What are your expansion plans for taking your biz forward?
We are taking baby steps. We are still into learning as each day is a new day for us. Fly Kouzina is already registered and trademarked. We are focusing on expanding the Kouzina family rather than Fly Kouzina as a brand. We have already opened an outlet called ‘Kouzina Mining Company’ which is the 5th restaurant of our venture four months back catering to both vegetarian and non vegetarians. It has a very different ambience having a coal mine theme. We wish to have 10-15 restaurants of different theme.